World's 2nd Oldest Female Orangutan Is Euthanized After Declining Health

The 54-year-old Bornean orangutan was a mother of four and surrogate to two babies at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo.
A 54-year-old Bornean orangutan named Maggie, pictured, was euthanized Friday at a Chicago zoo after declining health.
A 54-year-old Bornean orangutan named Maggie, pictured, was euthanized Friday at a Chicago zoo after declining health.

A Chicago zoo is in mourning after the death of a 54-year-old orangutan that was celebrated as the second oldest known female of her species.

The Bornean orangutan, named Maggie, was euthanized Friday after several weeks of declining health, Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo announced Saturday.

Maggie suffered "many of the same ailments that affect elderly people, including arthritis, heart disease, hypothyroidism, and round cell sarcoma," the zoo said in a release.

The mother of four also served as a surrogate to two infants including this one named Kecil, pictured here last year.
The mother of four also served as a surrogate to two infants including this one named Kecil, pictured here last year.

Maggie was born at the San Diego Zoo in 1961 and moved to the Brookfield Zoo in 1995, the release said.

She was roughly 6 years younger than the current oldest known female orangutan, which was born in 1955 and resides at the Tama Zoological Park in Tokyo, a Chicago Zoological Society spokeswoman told Reuters.

Maggie was nearly 55 years old when she died on Friday, the zoo said. She's seen here caring for a surrogate baby last year.
Maggie was nearly 55 years old when she died on Friday, the zoo said. She's seen here caring for a surrogate baby last year.

There are two orangutan species -- the Bornean, which is native to the island of Borneo, and the Sumatran, which is native to the island of Sumatra.

According to the Sumatran Orangutan Society, orangutans, which are endangered, can live to age 45 or older in the wild. The oldest captive male orangutan, named Guas, lived to be about 58 at the Philadelphia Zoo, where he died in 1977, according to the Associated Press.

The Brookfield Zoo said Maggie was “curious, intelligent, and playful,” a mother of four and a surrogate to two infants.

Maggie is being remembered as “curious, intelligent, and playful,” by the Brookfield Zoo.
Maggie is being remembered as “curious, intelligent, and playful,” by the Brookfield Zoo.

Her most recent surrogate baby was Kecil (pronounced Ka-cheel), who is now 2 and a half years old, the zoo stated.

“From the day Maggie and Kecil were introduced to each other, staff noticed positive interactions,” the zoo wrote. “With her calm demeanor, Maggie engaged Kecil in play, slept with him, and when he first ventured out to his new habitat in Tropic World: Asia, she was always protective and nearby.”

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